Borders are concepts which encompass and exclude. They exist everywhere. Some are literal visible physical lines whereas others go beyond sight and exist in terms of characteristics such as monetary wealth, or even humanity. Over time these boundaries are redefined and in turn change the flow of daily life for the individuals they effect. In many cases it is the powerful governments which are in control of the pen which outline these symbolic and physical lines. However as history can prove even though it is these powerful governments which give definition to these borders, it is very often them (the governmental officials) who are the ones who cross them.
This hypocritical characteristic is blatantly apparent in regards to Central America. Both the ruling elite and the United States government has infringed upon the many levels of borders which exist in this part of the world. Numerous atrocities have been committed, thousands of lives have been shattered, countless victims have suffered all due to lack of respect for the borders which exist. All levels have been touched; political, economic, and even human. No outline is safe from being infringed upon or even shattered in Central America.
While many of us may point fingers it is indeed our very own United States government which has not respected the political borders present in this part of the world. We have stepped into territory in this area that we have no business being involved with. Under our government s supervision, the CIA carried out a coup in Guatemala in which it installed a self-perpetuation pro-American gang of military criminals who have held power for almost forty years. Their reproductive mechanism has been murder of hundreds of thousands of Guatemalams. After this unnecessary interaction of the CIA, US national security planners saw “Cuba as a highly inflammable element which unchecked, could spread communism – now interchangeable with revolution” (Landau 30). In response to this President Eisenhower ordered the CIA to repeat its success in Guatemala. “Throughout the continent, US police and military advisers worked with torturers, murderers and Fascists to repress not only revolution, but all forms of democracy” (Landau 31). Our government officials have such extreme fears of the uprising of the poor in these nations that it did not care out of place it was to get involved. Their economic investments and trade guided our foreign relations. They would enter and cross the borders of this seemingly innocent third world section of the continent and intervene regardless of the fact that they did not belong there in the sense that it is not thier country and should not be involved.
Their reason for getting involved was their initial crossing of economic borders in Central America. Our country has numerous economic interests in regards to investments and supplies of raw materials in this section of the world. In Central America there existed $9 billion of private United States investments, as well as countless trade relations that were in jeopardy. Our government entered Guatemala for example do to “the need to protect our resources (as George Kennan put it, referring to what is rightfully ours though by irrelevant accident beyond our borders) but also with our concern to encourage a climate conducive to private investment and in the case of foreign capital to repatriate a reasonable return” (Chomsky 5). If the people in Central America were to gain power or were able to better their living conditions, the elite and investors would no longer be in control. Thus our investments were severely threatened by nationalism.
For this reason we entered these foreign lands and engaged in surpassing the final border; the border of humanity. We all are human and should all fall in the same sphere of classification. However, the United States government and the elite in Central America tried to redefine these borders of humanity and classified the masses into a different level (one that it is okay to torture and brutally murder). According to Chomsky, “over 440 villages were demolished, huge areas of the highlands were destroyed in a frenzy of possibility irreversible environmental devastation and well over 100,000 civilians were killed or disappeared up to 150,000 according to the Church and others (Chomsky 17) during one ot the US sponsored raids in Central America. It seems inhuman for our government to invade the borders of another country and commit such atrocities. Schlesinger and Kinzer attribute such a drastic response to the fact that “when something happens to shock Washington, to violate its imprecise notion of status quo, or threatens American interests, we reach for our gun” (Schlesinger and Kinzer 33). Thousands of lives were lost do to this response. It should be noted however that the borders of humanity had already been crossed before the killing sprees started.
There very living conditions which the lower class Central Americans were forced to endure are atrocious. As one representative of people noted in resoponse to the living conditions faced : “In my country child malnutrition is close to 85 percent. Ten percent of all children will be dead before the age of five, and that is only the number actually reported to government agencies. Close to 70 percent of our people are functionally illiterate. There is almost no industry in our country -you need land to survive. Less than 3 percent of our landowners own over 65 percent of our lands ” (Gabriel 78).
The living conditions these people faced are unbearable. They slaved all day and as time passed their conditions did not improve, they just become more and more submerged into the web of oppression which they face. They were “human beings (being) treated as an instrument of production ” (Berryman 93). Our country s officials and investors used these people to achieve personal interests and economic investments by means of force and threats. The borderline of respect was not just crossed but completely annihilated.
If we as a country could have simply minded our own business and not infringed upon Central America s many levels of borders hundreds of thousands of innocent victims would not have had their lives destroyed or even ended. Borders are real. They cannot be ignored or surpasses without critical consequences. They exist for a reason. The ink they are outlined in cannot be erased.